BUS CUTS? Here are the options Seattle Public Schools board will discuss Tuesday

We’ve been reporting since last month on the Seattle Public Schools proposal to drop bus service to most “option schools” – including Louisa Boren STEM K-8 in Delridge and Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point – to nibble at a budget crunch. The suggestion is from district staff and has not yet gone to a vote of the School Board, which won’t finalize the budget until summer. But since the idea came to light after a budget work session last month (here’s our first report), it’s stirred opposition at affected schools, and the board has a “work session” tomorrow to focus specifically on transportation funding, including this proposal. The agenda is out now and notes that the district’s transportation costs have risen sharply. Its contract with yellow-bus provider First Student was $26 million in 2017-2018, and $36 million for 2020-2021. Cutting bus service to 1,100+ students at 12 option schools including the two serving West Seattle/South Park was estimated to be a potential $740,000 savings. Here are some other possibilities for transportation savings that will be presented to the board tomorrow:

Here are recommendations the staff plans to propose:

District staff also call attention to the need to “fix” state funding for school transportation, and to keep districts’ funding from suffering because of pandemic-related enrollment drops. The full agenda and slide deck is here and includes information for watching/listening to the 4:30 pm Tuesday meeting, which does not include a public-comment period. (You can send comments any time, though, to spsdirectors@seattleschools.org.)

3 Replies to "BUS CUTS? Here are the options Seattle Public Schools board will discuss Tuesday"

  • Kyle February 22, 2021 (1:35 pm)

    Shifting the start time for option schools to utilize the same buses seems more reasonable than cutting busing all together for option schools.

  • Mrs. A February 22, 2021 (2:27 pm)

    @Kyle – The school board already did this a few years ago.  K-8 option schools generally start later than K-5 schools.  This option – cutting busses entirely – leaves a lot of students and families in the lurch.

  • ISawThisComing February 24, 2021 (9:17 am)

    I’ve been saying this for years.  The people running the bus department are not helpful, nice or concerned for our children.  My interactions with them has always left me feeling like they don’t care.  I’ve commented several times that “these people are trying to work themselves out of a job”.  And its working…If they did things better or tried to make us feel like they were needed and students were dependent on them (which many are) they would be getting more of the budget, not less.  Frustrated parents who cant depend on a reliable bus service will do what’s best for their families.  In our case it was easier to drop them off at school rather that wonder if the bus was going to show up and then have to scramble to get kids to school.

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